- Race to start with an individual time trial
- Itzulia returns to Iparralde
- The 63rd edition of the Itzulia Basque Country will cover 832.10km
The official route for the Itzulia 2024 was presented today 26 January. The presentation took place in the plenary hall of the council in Irun, which will host the first stage and the start of stage 2. The 63rd edition of the race will visit Iparralde. In addition, the time trial stage returns to open a historic 6-day race. On the 100th anniversary of the first edition of the Itzulia, the aim has been for the race route to travel the entire Basque Country.
Julian Eraso and Cristina Laborda, the mayoress of Irun, presented the route for the Itzulia 2024, which will run from 1 to 6 April and cover 832.1 km. The route will cross Gipuzkoa, Lapurdi, Nafarroa Behera, Navarra, Álava, Bizkaia, and re-enter Gipuzkoa, in that order, and finish in the center of Eibar.
The mayoress of Irun, Cristina Laborda explained during her speech that “Irun is a land of cycling and it is great news that the city will be hosting the start of one of the most important cycling events in our country and on such a special anniversary as the centenary of the first race. Fans of the sport, and the city in general, are in luck as we all get to enjoy a top-level sporting event and all that it entails for the city: a great atmosphere, activities for all age groups, and a fantastic opportunity for our urban economy and tourism, providing a showcase to the world.
A race that Irun is very familiar with, having hosted this sporting event in the past: the race first visited our city in 1975 and today, almost 50 years later, we will once again fill the streets as the cyclists pass through a renewed city that is open to the world.
In addition, the City Council will be working on a programme of activities for all, from the youngest to the oldest, so that both citizens of Irun and visitors alike can enjoy a day of sport and festivities. In short, another step forward in our efforts to make Irun an event city, putting it on the map of major events”.
Julian Eraso, president of OCETA, the organising association, commented that “we have wanted to return to Iparralde, for many years. Many fans have asked us to do so, but it has not been easy. There is a lot of work and many constraints that make it difficult. But this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the first edition of the race, we had to do it.” He added, “The Itzulia 2024 seeks to unite all Basque fans in the enjoyment of a very special edition”.
This edition will include 22 scoring mountain passes: 4 will be Category 1, 5 Category 2, and 13 Category 3. Points will be awarded for stage finishes (10″, 6″, 4″) and intermediate sprints (3″, 2″, 1″).
Here is the analysis of each stage:
Stage 1. IRUN-IRUN 10.00 km
The time trial returns to the Itzulia during a short and not very demanding stage but with several steep climbs. The first leg will be vital to get off to a good start and set a good pace. There is a short, cobbled section with a 10% gradient right at the start. That should separate the wheat from the chaff. After several ups and downs, begins the only ascent of the stage, with an elevation of 1.7km at 5.2% that will have to be ridden flat out. From there, the race crosses the length of the Olaberria neighborhood downhill until the ramp up to the town hall square. The favourites are expected to be close, barring any surprises.
Stage 2. IRUN-KANBO 160.00 km
The race enters Iparralde during a stage on very tricky terrain. There is only one scoring pass, but the roads are constantly up and down. Including narrow sections where the peloton will have to fight for position. It could be the stage for the breakaway.
Stage 3. EZPELETA-ALTSASU 190.90 km
The longest stage of the 2024 race, with 6 scoring mountain passes. From practically a standstill, the riders will start the climb to Otxondo, a good place for a significant large breakaway to open up the way. The last two climbs may well define the group leading the charge to the finish line.
Stage 4. ETXARRI ARANATZ- LEGUTIO 157.50 km
The stage starts with 25 km of false plain and the climb to Opakua, an ideal pass for a breakaway. Followed by wilderness until the riders cross the finish line for the first time. Nervousness will start to set in during the final part of the circuit, with 3 short but demanding climbs. The last climb is only 8 km from the finish line.
Stage 5. AMOREBIETA-ETXANO 175.90 km
The start promises to be the only “quiet” part of the day until the descent to the first of the 4 passes through Amorebieta. From there, the race climbs Urkiola, a Category 1 climb, and enters a circuit involving two climbs up Muniketa and another non-scoring steep slope. It will then cross the finish line checkpoint in reverse and through Amorebieta twice before reaching the finish
Stage 6. EIBAR-EIBAR 137.80 km
As in 2023, this will be the final stage of the Itzulia. A special and demanding stage from the get-go, where the main protagonists of the day will be the riders competing in the general classification.
And where a great team will be very important to ensure control, as in previous editions.